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(LEAD) S. Korea starts vaccine booster shots for soldiers amid omicron variant concerns

Defense 16:30 December 13, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout; CHANGES headline, lead, photo; CORRECTS figure in para 6 on official correction)
By Kang Yoon-seung

SEOUL, Dec. 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea began administering booster jabs for its troops Monday in its vaccination program against COVID-19, with fears growing over the spread of the omicron variant.

Under the program, the military plans to inoculate around 400,000 service members and civilian employees by Jan. 14, according to the Ministry of National Defense.

The move came around two weeks earlier than its initial plan amid growing reports of breakthrough infections among troops. Booster jabs will be offered at 41 vaccination centers this week and the number will be expanded to 91 next week.

A soldier receives an extra COVID-19 jab at a military facility in Yongin, 49 kilometers south of Seoul, in this photo released by the Ministry of National Defense on Dec. 13, 2021. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Earlier in the day, the military reported 25 additional COVID-19 cases, all of which are breakthrough infections, raising the total caseload among its personnel to 2,738. Of the total, 981 were breakthrough infections.

Of the additional cases, 19 people are from the Army, four from the Navy, one from a unit under the direct control of the defense ministry, and one civilian employee, officials said. Currently, 379 military personnel are under treatment.

Soldiers receive extra COVID-19 shots at a military facility in Yongin, 49 kilometers south of Seoul, in this photo released by the Ministry of National Defense on Dec. 13, 2021. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

colin@yna.co.kr
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